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Stekel, W. (1923). Poetry and Neurosis: Contributions to the Psychology of the Artist and of Artistic Creative Ability. Psychoanal. Rev., 10(2):190-208.

(1923). Psychoanalytic Review, 10(2):190-208


Poetry and Neurosis: Contributions to the Psychology of the Artist and of Artistic Creative Ability

Dr. William Stekel

Authorized English Version by James S. Van Teslaar

(Continued from page 96)

His feelings of ennui developed into taedium vitae and he entertained thoughts of suicide, as shown by his Werther. His feelings at all times passed easily beyond the realm of the normal. He wept easily and on all occasions. He wept when he recited Hermann und Dorothea. (“One thus melts before one's own coals.”) He wept at the fifth act of Iphigenia; for 14 days before his departure from Rome he wept daily like a child. He disliked all sad accounts and anxiously avoided all unpleasant impressions. The female trend in him, the homosexual component, which is never absent in the neurotic, made him supersensitive.

His mood was subject to marked periodic vacillations. Mobius holds that “the relationship between unmotivated vacillations in moods and periodic insanity no thoughtful person can deny.” I am bold enough to deny that absolutely. If one investigates these emotional vacillations in the light of psychoanalysis one finds that they are never unmotivated. They only seem unmotivated on superficial

(Note reference page 96, January number):


1 “… Our great creative writers have possessed in the highest degree that sensitiveness, or excitability as it has been more recently called. Grillparzer showed the most peculiar sensitiveness to light; a plain sound was sometimes enough to excite his whole body into a tremble, and Hebbel confesses: ‘I am often mad with myself to discover that my excitability instead of subsiding, grows progressively worse.’ In spite of such complaint experience proves that those who are particularly sensitive do not avoid the stimuli, that they experience a mixed pleasant-unpleasant sensation on account of which they rather aim to expose themselves to the excitations in question, that the artist deliberately exposes himself to the stream of life, to the tasting of existence and to the gamut of passion.” Behaghel, Bewusstes und Unbewusstes im dichterischen Schaffen. Leipzig, 1907.

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